Friday, May 19, 2023

: Free Expression Group Sues Escambia County School District Over Book Bans

Escambia County School District in Florida has recently come under legal scrutiny after several books were banned from its educational establishments. 

The book bans, led by Northview High School language arts teacher Vicki Baggett, began in 2022 and included diverse literature, from picture books and young adult novels to nonfiction pieces. The bans have been criticized for disproportionately targeting books about race and LGBTQ+ identities written by non-white and LGBTQ+ authors. 

PEN America, an organization devoted to free expression, is leading a lawsuit against Escambia County School District and School Board. They are joined by several authors, parents, and Penguin Random House, the country's largest book publisher, asserting that the district's book bans violate the First Amendment and the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause. 

The suit, filed in federal court on May 17, 2023, criticizes the board for dismissing recommendations from the district review committee that assessed book challenges. The lawsuit alleges that the school district is more interested in censoring specific ideas and viewpoints than focusing on pedagogy. Among the authors whose books have been removed or restricted are Sarah Brannen, David Levithan, George M. Johnson, Dr. Ashley Hope Pérez, and Kyle Lukoff. 

The lawsuit demands that the affected books be returned to school library shelves. 

Dr. Ashley Hope Pérez, one of the authors suing the district, argues that banning her book, which discusses sexual assault, is a disservice to students. Pérez asserts that the ban removes a crucial resource that could help young people navigate and discuss complex topics, such as sexual assault, within their communities.

Pérez also points out that these changes will likely have the most significant impact on students with the fewest resources, those who depend on school libraries for access to information. PEN America reports that since 2021, 306 educational gag order bills have been introduced across 45 U.S. states, 22 of which have become law in 16 states. In addition, the American Library Association has noted that efforts to ban books nearly double in 2022, with 1,269 attempts to ban books and resources in libraries and schools. Citation: Kyaw, A. (2023, May 19). 

Free Expression Group Sues Florida School District Over Book Bans. Diverse: Issues In Higher Education. Retrieved from

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Featured Post

Library Patrons, Not Customers: Upholding the Essence of Public Libraries

Libraries have a vital role in promoting personal and community growth by facilitating learning. However, if people who come to the library ...